Some mornings, while I’m in line waiting for the bell to ring, half-ass listening to my friends talk about who posted what on their Snapchat stories, I stare at him from afar, wondering what kind of sick shit he has running through his mind. Some days, when our classes are out for recess, I try to decipher who he’s looking at from the corner of his eye and wonder if he has a specific type or if anything goes. Some days, when I catch a glimpse of my 10 year old sister in the crowded hallway, I wonder if 11 years old is his cut-off age. I pray to God she’s not assigned to his homeroom when that time comes. Some days I wonder what his house looks like. Does he live alone? Does he have secret pictures of girls? Is there a code needed to enter the basement?
And some days, with absolutely no warning, a thought pops into my head, and I can't help but wonder if he knows how to point, aim, and shoot a gun.
There was one time he thought it was okay to pull on her bra strap as she sat in front of him during a school assembly. I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind that entire day. I kept imagining how red her face must’ve been when she turned around and realized it was him. She would’ve been embarrassed either way had it been one of the boys in our class but he was our teacher. The next time she confided in me was when he gently grasped her ponytail as she walked passed him in the hallway, allowing her blond hair to glide through his fingers as she hurried back to class. “Please don’t tell anyone”, she pleaded. Another time, while she was sitting in her seat, he put his two hands on the back of her chair and “playfully” lifted himself upward. If she would’ve gotten up as he was putting all of his weight onto the back of her seat he would have fallen forward flat on his face, but she didn’t think of it in time. The missed opportunity forced her eyes to turn to glass while the words were coming out of her mouth, but she was able to hold back her tears. I like to think that she didn’t want to waste any of her energy crying over a measly piece of shit.
That was last school year. She hasn’t spoken to me about it since we became 7th graders. But her everyday ponytail reminds me of how he made her feel and how she was always on the brink of tears while speaking to me about it. And if something as simple as a ponytail jog’s my memory, imagine what goes through her head every Monday through Friday morning as she gets ready for yet another day of uncomfortable “Just don’t make eye contact” pep talks.
Maybe I can anonymously slip someone a note and get an investigation going. Maybe I should wait until we’re in the 8th grade so that way he doesn’t put any of the blame on her.
In class today we learned about another shooting that took place at a high school in America. Doesn’t matter what state it happens in anymore because I’m pretty sure all states have been covered at this point in time, but this one was a bad one. Bad meaning multiple causalities. One or two persons dying, that kind of tragedy the media doesn’t care too much for, but multiple causalities is the core foundation for around the clock headline opportunities and photo ops. “Say cheese school shooting victims, and can you cry on cue?" White young male with access to guns and a mental illness. That’s usually the initial report. Later investigators will find out the shooter had a serious chip on his shoulder and sought revenge. Some poor girl declined his prom invite or he was being bullied. Or, the shooter was a fame whore like that one kid we read about not too long ago in another school shooting.
I envision our school shooter to be more of cross between options A and B. I mean, pulling on the bra strap of a middle school girl has to be linked to some sort of a mental illness. And if I anonymously slip someone a note, thoughts of revenge can only make him worse.
“Did you tell your mom?”
“Not about the bra strap thing.”
“Because I don’t want to.”
“Don’t you think she might be able to do something about it?”
“Do what? Make him mad? Then what?”
Then the school opens up an investigation and the police are involved. Then faculty, students, parents, everyone is questioned. Then he is put on administrative leave pending investigation findings. Then his name is plastered all over the news and more so on social media. Then he is ultimately fired from his teaching job after more girls come forward. Then he falls deeper into a hole once his life is eventually ruined in every single aspect. Then he starts to realize that due to the selfishness of the girls that ratted him out they must pay for what they have done to him. Then he packs up his guns from his secret hiding place and makes his way to our school one sunny afternoon. Then, when school is out, he shoots.
Nobody in particular, because that would take up too much time, but if he sees her face, you better believe she’s a goner. And the Principal. And that teacher who never really cared for him to begin with. And a few more of my friends. And a few parents waiting to greet the happy faces of their children. And then, himself. Textbook.
“But what if he’s doing it to another girl?’
“I don’t want to say anything, okay?”
“But what if my sister’s in his homeroom next year?”
“Then let her tell YOUR mom!”
So I wait.
And as all the kids rush out on this last day of school I wonder what 8th grade will be like. I’m so excited. A field trip to Washington D.C., cap and gown orders, graduation pictures, the amazing 8th grade dance, I can’t wait for all of it. So, you see, I can’t tell anyone. I want to be here for all of it. And while there is no guarantee in this life, I do have the choice of not purposely putting my school, our school, in harm’s way.
And in that choice, I have to ask everyone a favor if you will.
Please send your thoughts and prayers to my baby sister as she enters junior high next school year. Maybe it will have an impact before the school administration chooses her homeroom number.
Thank you so much for reading.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me on Twitter @PenNameMom
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